Thursday, February 05, 2009

Sit down and STFU already!

Enough already! Time for the progressives and Democrats to stand up and clearly tell the regressives and Republicans to “Sit down and STFU!” in no uncertain terms.

On all the talking head shows for some unknown and unfathomable reason there are far more Republicans and reichwing ideologues being asked for their opinions on the current stimulus package and, predictably, they come out spewing the old (and discredited) bromides about “tax cuts” (for the wealthy and mega-corporations) and cuts in increasingly frayed social services for the rest of us. ENOUGH! The last 28 years (yes, I'm including Clinton's 2 terms because many of his policies sprang from the same √©minences grises that got us where we are today!) where the political and economic center has been violently wrenched to the right of center and the very economic policies for tax cuts for the rich and service cuts for the rest, HAVE been implemented. Look where it has gotten us. Greater concentration of wealth and political power in the hands of a tiny minority with the attendant pauperization of the majority. With the greater concentration of wealth into fewer hands, political power has also been concentrated in fewer hands. With our political system the way it is, once a senator or representative is elected to office, the majority of their time is subsumed in fundraising for the next election. Many, if not most, legislators don't even have time to do the job they were elected to, they usually don't even have time to read the bills they vote on, much less examine them carefully and think about how it will affect their constituents. These mundane duties are delegated to their staff. Even in those rare cases where the legislator may not be compromised by moneyed interests, often times their staffs are.

With the concentration of wealth and power in the hands of the moneyed interests, the interests of the vast majority, i.e. the public at large, suffer. While the moneyed interests virtually dictate legislation beneficial to themselves and their interests, the public interest is forgotten. For example, when the credit card companies essentially rewrote the bankruptcy laws to their perceived interest, the ability of the common citizen to get any true debt relief was essentially stripped away. However, interestingly enough, were the same bankruptcy rules to be applied to the Wall St. banksters who have gamed the system and become monumentally rich in the process, all of Wall St. would have crashed by now, all their company and personal assets would have been liquidated and all the Thains and Madoffs would now be residing under bridges. Obviously, this has not and will not happen because we do have a two-tiered legal system; very harsh treatment for the common man and extremely lenient treatment for the wealthy and powerful. Imagine, if you will, that you had embezzled say $25,000. Once the theft were detected, you would be taken forthwith to the jail to await trial. If you can afford to do so, you may be able to bond yourself out until trial. Once convicted, off you go for a lengthy stay at a state or federal penal facility. Now, look at Bernie Madoff. Certainly, he has posted an immense bond (but he had stolen an immense amount of money). Pending his trial he is under “house arrest” at his luxurious Manhattan penthouse. Even if he should be convicted (after all, he can afford to hire the best counsel money can buy), he may well be sentenced to a minimum security facility, maybe even one of those Club Feds where you pick up trash in the morning and play tennis in the afternoon. In addition, if you (a common peon) are accused of a variety of offenses, all of your assets are seized, even prior to trial, making the task of defending yourself near impossible. See the difference?

Again, we have had 28 years of essentially, Reaganomics i.e. massive tax cuts for the wealthy and mega-corporations. So, what hath these failed policies wrought? Immense concentration of existing wealth into the grasping hands of the greedy, massive destruction of wealth for the lower and middle classes. Near total neglect of the public infrastructure leading to increasing failure of that infrastructure. The outsourcing of most of the American industrial base to low wage foreign countries which has also helped wreck the unions in the United States. The massive pillaging of the Federal Treasury by private interests has left the United States, for all intents and purposes, bankrupt.

So, in conclusion, each and every time one hears the standard Republican line of “tax cuts” to remedy our current troubles, one must be very careful to say “Sit down and STFU!”. It has been tried, for 28 years running, and has directly led us to the disaster we find ourselves in today. Remember, Republicans, “STFU”!

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